Indiana Transportation Museum close on purchase of railroad

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LOGANSPORT, Ind. — The displaced Indiana Transportation Museum may soon have a new home. According to a notice published in the Federal Register, the Logansport & Eel River Railroad is seeking a waivers for a requirement to put a section of out-of-service track back into service. The Federal Railroad Administration filing says the railroad, which currently exists in name only, is seeking the relief as part of a purchase proceeding with the Indiana Transportation Museum, which has already made a down payment on 1.6 miles of track.

ITM Acting Chairman Les McConnell confirmed the purchase proceeding to Trains News Wire. McConnell says ITM, which was evicted in July 2018 from its home of more than 50 years in Noblesville, Ind., is hoping the short line will be a suitable home for the museum’s equipment, which itself is in jeopardy following the eviction in Noblesville. McConnell says the museum was forced to sell or scrap equipment in the fallout from the eviction, and he hopes the short line in Logansport will help preserved the museum’s identity and its equipment.

“It’s all survival,” McConnell says.

According to the filing, the Logansport & Eel River Railroad is seeking relief from federal requirements regarding signage and notices at six grade crossings on the line and notices that the rail line in question is once again back in service. The railroad is also seeking an answer regarding whom — the Logansport & Eel River or connecting railroad Toledo, Peoria & Western, a Genesee & Wyoming company — is responsible for replacing a switch which used to connect the short line to the TP&W. Logansport & Eel River is arguing that the switch was removed without permission and TP&W wants $86,500 for a new switch. In the filing, Logansport & Eel River states the railroad is ready to re-install signage once a decision is made about the responsibility for the switch.

ITM was evicted as part of a long and complicated battle between the museum and the City of Noblesville. The museum operated on 35 miles of isolated track, which it did not own. Following the court-ordered eviction, the city, McConnell says, still has some pieces of ITM rolling stock on its property, although some equipment has been sold or moved to other locations by truck. McConnell says with the purchase of the Logansport & Eel River trackage, the museum can own its own trackage for the first time and become more secure.

“We were trying to find a place to go, to own our own railroad,” McConnell says recalling how ITM came to be in contact with the short line. “We don’t want to be caretakers anymore.”

McConnell says he is confident a deal can be reached with short line for the acquisition of the trackage within the next two weeks. No timeline is available to say whether the request to the FRA will be heard.



NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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